The purpose of these regulations is to define a procedure for the authorization and approval of travel and conference expenses incurred by the System Retirement Staff and Board Members in carrying out Retirement System business and functions. The general principal to be followed is that all travel and conference related expenses must be related to the business of the Retirement System and not for personal benefit and must be as reasonable and cost effective as is practical.
Authorization for Travel, Conference and Related Expenditures
The Board shall pay for or make reimbursement to Board members and the staff of the Retirement Board for all travel, conference and lodging expenses and for expenses related to legitimate speaking engagements, under the following terms and conditions:
1. Except for in state travel for routine business, travel, conference and related expenses are to be approved by the board in advance of the travel or conference attendance.
2. Requests for travel by Board Members and staff shall be placed on a Board meeting agenda, discussed in open session and approved by a majority vote of the Members of the board present and voting. The meeting minutes shall reflect the Board’s action and the extent of the authorization.
3. The nature of the travel, its purpose and estimated cost shall be presented to the board at time of approval of travel or of conference is requested. Brochures for seminars or other presentations should accompany the request for travel where available.
4. A statement describing the presentation, conference or seminar should be entered into the minutes of the meeting following the travel.
Required Documentation for Reimbursement
Board Members and staff are to be reimbursed for travel related expenses by the submission of a Board approved expense form, requiring that the traveler certify that the expenses were incurred and were necessary and incidental to the approved travel or conference. Requests for reimbursement must be submitted within a reasonable time after the expenses are incurred, but no later than within sixty (60) days from the last day expenses were incurred.
1. Any requests for reimbursement should be completed and properly approved after incurring any travel, transportation or meal or other travel related expenses and before reimbursement takes place.
2. Itemized receipts must be submitted for all expenses including transportation, lodging, and other expenses incidental to travel.
3. Original receipts should be required for all travel related expenses over $10.00. Travel-related expenses that are under $10.00 (such as gratuities) should be fully described and reimbursed based on the traveler’s certification that the expenses were necessary and incidental to the approved travel.
4. Any travel related expenditures which have not been properly documented or approved or are not in conformity with the Board’s regulations shall be rejected or adjusted.
5. Reimbursement shall only be made to the person who actually made payment for the expense or to the direct supplier of the service or item related to the travel or conference.
6. The reimbursement request form must be signed by the person seeking reimbursement and signed under the pains and penalties of perjury.
The Executive Secretary of the board is responsible for assisting Board Members and Board staff in completing travel arrangements and filing authorization and reimbursement forms. If any board Member or Board Staff shall elect to make his or her own travel arrangements, the provisions of 840 CMR 2.00 shall apply. When making travel arrangements, government rates or business rates will be secured to the extent practical.
An extended stay may be authorized if the net costs of the Board will be lower. For example, if airline fare is lowered by staying an extra day and the cost of accommodations and meals for that extra day results in a net savings to the Board, an extended stay can be authorized.
Airlines, trains, bus, automobile rental, taxi or other form of public conveyance (as cost effective) are to be utilized.
All travel should be at the lowest fare available, generally economy/coach fare. Payment for airline club membership is not permitted.
Rental cars should be from a national rental agency. Rental rates should be competitive and reasonable. Rental of luxury motor vehicles is not permitted. Generally, vehicles larger than mid-size are not allowed.
The traveler must take optional insurance coverage for rental cars.
Any motor vehicle accidents which occur while using a rental car while on Board-approved travel must be reported as soon as practicable, in writing to the appropriate authorities, with copies of all such reports provided to the Board.
No reimbursement for fines or other expenses incurred as a result of traffic violations while on board-approved travel is permitted. The traveler is personally responsible for such expenses.
Allowable reimbursements for use of personal motor vehicles when such usage is cost effective are permitted. The per-mile expense rate allowed shall not exceed the amount allowed by the Internal Revenue Service. Parking fees and toll charges will be reimbursed to the traveler.
Lodging rates should be reasonable and competitive and not exceed average standard room rates for the facility. Luxury rooms or suites are not allowed. Travelers should rent rooms at conference room rates if attending a conference. All reservations for accommodations shall be made in advance.
Meal costs while on Board authorized travel shall be reimbursed to the traveler at their actual costs provided the costs reflect the reasonable meal expenses (excluding liquor).
If reimbursement is sought for meal expenses for others, these individuals are to be identified along with their affiliation and a description for the purpose of the meeting. Reimbursement shall be made only for meetings that are for business purposes.
Reimbursement is prohibited if meals are included in the cost for registration for a conference or seminar.
Conference Registration Fees
Registration fees for conferences and educational seminars approved by the Board shall be reimbursable provided the subject of such conferences or seminars are reasonably related to the work of the Board.
Other Reimbursable and Non-Reimbursable Expenses
Other reimbursable expenses, requiring proper supporting receipts include gratuities paid in accordance with local custom, telephone expenses limited to Board or business related calls, internet connections charges, costs for faxing, and cost for necessary copying.
Cash advances in connection with anticipated expenses is not permitted. Conference registration fees may be advanced prior to conference dates.
Board Credit Cards
Credit cards issued to the Board or staff are not permitted.
Personal Travel Combined with board Related Travel
If personal travel is combined with Board related travel, the personal portion of the trip will be clearly identified and paid for by the traveler. Travel expenses or any other expenses incurred by a spouse, relative, friend or other individual accompanying a Board Member or Board staff member will be considered to be personal travel and will, in no event, be a proper expense of the Board.
Payments or Reimbursements for Expenses by Third Parties
The provision or receipt by a board member or staff member of anything of substantial value directly or indirectly from any person, firm, partnership or other entity which may be reasonable expected to seek to do business with or is seeking to do business with or present is doing business with a Retirement Board or any person, firm or other entity that solicits or makes referrals or which may be reasonably expected to solicit or make referrals of any client on behalf of such a person, firm, partnership or other entity is prohibited.
In instances where a Board Member or Board staff member participates in a legitimate speaking engagement or attends a conference or seminar related to the performance of their duties, the Board shall pay all costs and expenses related to such speaking engagement, conference, or seminar provided, that the Board Member or Board staff member complies with all of the Board’s travel regulations. The Board may accept reimbursement for such travel related expenses of a Board Member or a member of the Board’s staff from the third party, only under the following limited circumstances:
1. A Board Member or a member of a Board’s staff may participate in legitimate speaking engagements, conference or seminars in connection with their positions on the Retirement Board or as a member of the Board’s staff and the Board may accept reimbursements from third parties necessary to cover travel related costs for such engagements.
2. Acceptance of an honorarium or any other form of compensation is strictly prohibited.
3. To be considered a legitimate speaking engagement, the presentation must be formally scheduled on the agenda of a convention or conference.
4. The speaking engagement must be scheduled in advance of the Board Member’s or staff member’s arrival at the event.
5. The presentation must be before an organization that would normally have outside speakers address them at such an event.
6. The presentation cannot be perfunctory, but should significantly contribute to the event, taking into account such factors as the length of the speech or presentation, the size of the audience, and the extent to which the speaker is providing substantive or unique information or viewpoints.
7. The Retirement Board can be reimbursed by a third party for expenses only to the extent necessary for making the speech or presentation or attendance at the conference or seminar.
8. Except as provided above, under no circumstances can a Board Member or Board staff member receive reimbursement or any other payment or compensation from a third party.
Any third party that violates these regulations shall be deemed to have violated the provisions of 840 CMR 17.00 (PERAC Regulations are listed under 840) and shall be subject to removal as a qualified investment manager or consultant pursuant to 840 CMR 17.01 (10). In addition the Commission shall not grant an exemption pursuant to 840 CMR 19.02 or qualification pursuant to 840 CMR 26.04 if any person or entity that has violated these Guidelines or Retirement Board regulations is the subject of the filing pursuant to those provisions.